by Stephen Jermanok
For many families on vacation, the rooms are secondary. They want a sublime stretch of pearly white sand and the therapeutic aquamarine waters of the ocean. Add a swimming pool, tennis courts and maybe even a kids club, and you have more than enough activity to keep everyone happy during the day. Then you return to your room and see wet bathing suits and towels all over the cramped quarters as you wait patiently to rinse off the saltwater in that one shower. At least if you had a balcony, you could have warmed up in the sunshine. But no, you chose that one high-rise building where the windows don’t even open. Maybe you should have looked more closely at the room you reserved. Maybe you should have booked a suite at the Royal Sands in Cancun.
There’s one reason why the Royal Sands is consistently rated one of the top resorts in Cancun by TripAdvisor reviewers year in and year out. It’s all about space! Sure, the resort boasts one of the nicest stretches of beach in Cancun, an impressive infinity pool, an enthusiastic Activity Center for children, a highly regarded spa and even a small onsite grocery store. But one look at their two-bedroom suites, complete with a master bedroom and separate room for kids, pull-out Murphy beds in the living room for larger families, a full kitchen, two bathrooms and an oversized balcony, and you understand the attraction. This is one room where you won’t mind spending a considerable amount of time on vacation.
Even with the full kitchen, the Royal Sands offers an all-inclusive package, allowing you to dine at three onsite restaurants and four other Royal Club Vacations properties in Cancun. A free shuttle service whisks you away to the other resorts on a regular basis. There’s also the opportunity to spend half your week in Cancun and the other half at their sister property, Royal Haciendas, in the nearby Riviera Maya. There are many options to consider, but one thing is certain: You’re guaranteed a spacious abode in a beachfront setting.
Our Editor Loves
- Extremely spacious suites
- Beautiful stretch of beach
- Authentic Mexican cuisine at Hacienda Sisal
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Unlike many of the resorts in Cancun, the 340 suites are pretty close to the surf so you can hear the waves at night in most of the rooms.
The two-bedroom suite, which has two bedrooms separated by a full kitchen, dining room table and a living room. If you have additional children, they can sleep in the two pull-out Murphy beds in the living room. The master bedroom features a king-sized bed, walk-in closet, flat-screen television and a shower and bathtub in the bathroom. The children's bedroom has two double beds with separate bathroom and ample dresser space. The kitchen is fully equipped with dishes, silverware, glasses, a stove, refrigerator, microwave and blender. The living room features a DVD player with surround sound, and you can rent DVDs from the market inside the resort. The balcony also holds a table if you want to enjoy your meals with an ocean view. The two-bedroom suites can accommodate up to six people comfortably.
If you want to cut costs, opt for a one-bedroom suite. The villa has the same configuration as the two-bedroom suite without the second bedroom for the children. Instead, the kids could sleep in the Murphy beds in the living room. Thus, a one-bedroom suite can sleep a family of four.
We have owned here since 2001 and come back every year. We are treated so well, enjoy the amenities so much and have such a first class time year after year. We choose not to do the all inclusive choice since there are so many incredible first class restaurants in Cancun.
We wouldn't be typical all inclusive travelers. Took us a couple of days to settle into the routine. Great staff, good food. Hotel is spotless clean. Felt like a million Euro after a week chilling out there. Lots to do on site. Gym, tennis , basketball , multiple bars, restaurants and daily activities arranged.
If I was ever going back to Cancun I would only stay here.
For children ages 4 to 12, the supervised Kids Club is offered daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. During the day, counselors keep the children happy with a variety of activities, including T-shirt painting, games in the kids pool, mini-Olympics on the beach, a water balloon war, treasure hunts and face painting.
The Activity Center, near the main pool, also keeps teenagers entertained throughout the day with Xbox, beach volleyball, Texas Hold'em and Blackjack tournaments.
Adults can join in on the fun with organized activities, day and night, that start with yoga or pilates in the morning, before moving on to Spanish dance lessons, table tennis tournaments, pool volleyball and Casino Nights. There are also four onsite tennis courts to practice those Federer-like strokes.
Beach and Pool
If you prefer peace and quiet, grab your spot on the beach and a good novel, and spend your day digging your toes into the sand while watching the sun slowly move from east to west. The surf is relatively shallow, so kids will be comfortable swimming in both the ocean and three pools.
The concierge staff is another one of the resort's trademarks. They are at your service, whether you simply need a high chair at dinner, want to book a tee time at the golf course down the road or are inquiring about a half-day snorkeling excursion to the nearby Isla Mujeros. The Mayan ruins of Tulum are another worthwhile daytrip. Sixty structures, including the ancient watchtower, El Castillo, still stand. The ruins are located near the beach, so it's nice to go for a swim before making the 90-minute to two-hour trip back to Cancun. The sister resort, Royal Haciendas, located in Playa del Carmen, is much closer to Tulum. You might want to spend several nights in the Riviera Maya if you're interested in seeing the ruins and snorkeling in the popular marine park called Xcaret.
Near the pool, Royal Sands' main restaurant is La Veranda. It offers a breakfast buffet in the morning, featuring fresh fruit like papayas and pineapples, an assortment of bread and pastries, cereals, yogurt, eggs and omelets and bacon and sausage. At lunch, expect to find a buffet of salads, fruit, sandwiches, grilled chicken and grilled fish. At night, La Veranda offers a tantalizing array of buffets depending on the night of the week. Every Saturday night is the Lobster Festival. More seafood beckons on Tuesday nights with the Italian Seafood buffet. Carnivores will savor Prime Rib night on Thursdays, while every Friday night, you can start the weekend off right with a poolside barbecue and live Mexican music.
The nightly Mariachi music at the resort's second restaurant, Hacienda Sisal, only adds to the authentic Mexican fare. Depending on the night, you might also find flamenco dancers dressed in elaborate costumes. The restaurant is located on the main strip, just outside the resort, and is open to the public. Enter inside to find chandeliers dangling from the tall ceiling and red, Mexican-tiled floors. Entrees include mole poblano, which is grilled chicken doused in a sweet and spicy mole sauce. Also expect such signature Mexican items as beef, shrimp and chicken fajitas, lobster and shrimp enchiladas, burritos, tacos and chile relleno.
Char Hut is the poolside snack bar, perfect for a lunch of burgers, fries, hot dogs and grilled chicken sandwiches.
Almost always open, this spot serves up handmade pizzas and will deliver to your suite.
The resort also features 24-hour room service, which is nice when you want to have breakfast on your balcony, or if the kids are too tired to be dragged to another meal.
Inside the hotel, a small market offers breakfast, lunch and dinner items.
Sidelines Sports Bar & Karaoke
There's a sports bar that serves snacks throughout the day, such as popcorn and cheese nachos and always has the game on.
This seafood bar sits on the terrace outside Sidelines and offers a variety of ceviche for lunch.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Service is top-notch. This is not a resort with attitude. Employees go out of their way to make sure every worry is alleviated and you can enjoy your vacation.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available in the guestrooms and the public areas of the resort.
A short walk from the lobby, in its own separate building, the fitness center looks more like your local gym than the typical room full of antiquated workout machines found in a hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
With direct flights to many North American and European cities, Cancun is a great vacation destination year-round, especially for young families who want a taste of their first international destination. The winter months of January through March are the high-end season when the Royal Sands is at full capacity and the costs are highest. If you like your beach to be a little less crowded, try the shoulder season months of early to mid-December, April and May, when the weather is perfect. Cancun is hurricane-prone in summer so be sure to check the extended forecast. This is the budget-oriented time of the year when many South Americans descend on the Yucatan Peninsula to escape their winter.
The Cancun International Airport is less than 20 minutes away from The Royal Sands.
A shuttle bus to the other four Royal resorts is a nice touch, especially if you're on the all-inclusive plan. Make it an outing by having lunch and then going for a dip.
Mom and Dad
Take advantage of the Spa at Royal Sands and treat yourself to a 90-minute Deep Tissue, Swedish, Thai or Hot-Stone massage. Better yet, do this upon arrival to work out the kinks of travel and get yourself in a relaxed vacation mode.